The Character Issue | Gratitude - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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The Character Issue | Gratitude

December’s character trait of the month is Gratitude. Our catchphrase for this month is “Say thank you as much as possible.” Whether you’re in a season of abundance or where your joy feels thin, reaching forth and finding something to be grateful for is a great exercise for you and your children.

In this blog, we’ll explore ideas on how to teach our children to not only say “thank you” but also mean it. Gratitude begins within ourselves and is something we can model for our kiddos. I (Jennifer) am all about appreciating the small stuff and voicing my thankfulness for it. I want gratitude to be contagious in my home, so I started a Happiness Journal. Every day I write down something I’m happy about, grateful for, or cherish. Some days, I list the love of my husband, the giggles of my son, and the engineering that goes into me being able to smoothly drive the 101 at sunset. I find the act of knowing I need to write something down in my Happiness Journal at the end of the day helps me focus on the good throughout the day. This is something I’ve incorporated into my homeschooling days too. I have my son write three things he’s thankful for. Sometimes, he’s pretty simple about it and is thankful for his pencil, and other times he tugs on my heartstrings and shares how he’s thankful for his grandparents.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy

When you look up gratitude in a thesaurus, you’ll find several synonyms for gratitude: thankfulness, appreciation, acknowledgment, and recognition. SLOCA defines gratitude as:

“Being thankful and showing appreciation for those in our lives and for what we have and receive.”

So how else can we nurture an “attitude of gratitude” in our kids? Well, search the internet, and you’ll find many suggestions, but on almost every list out there, the first suggestion is to model it. And if we are to model gratitude to our children, we need to first cultivate it in ourselves. Below, you’ll find a few other suggestions to encourage gratitude in your life and your family.

Here are a few ideas to spark an “attitude of gratitude” in your home.  Be sure to comment below if you have ideas to add!

  • Write “thank you” notes. When we take the time to write out our appreciation, it challenges us to truly reflect on what was done for us or given to us. (If you require your kids to write one for every gift they receive this December, you may see their wish lists shrink next year.)
  • Share something you are grateful for every day. Maybe make a “Blessing Board” or have a jar with notepaper and a pen nearby to encourage your family to write down things they are thankful for. Share them at mealtimes, in the car, at bedtime, or whenever.
  • Do something for someone in need. Volunteer, make a meal for a neighbor, donate coats or blankets, etc!
  • Challenge yourself and your family to “say thank you as much as possible.”  Find fun ways to make gratitude a habit.

Remember, gratitude can be as simple as saying thank you! Plus, this is not just about manners but about acknowledging and validating what someone else has done. A genuine “thank you” says, “What you did has value and worth to me. You are valued.” Let’s face it, most of us don’t mind a little appreciation now and then. 

Speaking of gratitude — we are so grateful to you, our Down Home readers! 

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